Far East Consortium has zeroed in on London for a £250 million residential development, as the UK housing market picks up after Britain’s divorce with the EU.
The Hong Kong-listed residential and hotel developer, which has built out a global property portfolio with assets worth $5.4 billion across ten countries, said that it had acquired a waterfront development site in Canary Wharf for £28.25 million ($36.6 million) for a “residentially-led mixed-use complex”.
FEC’s managing director Chris Hoong told Mingtiandi that the developer had acquired the existing office property on the site from several individual investors who held units under strata-title ownership.
The acquisition comes just over three months after construction began on the developer’s £470 million Consort Place mixed-use development, which sits adjacent to the newly acquired site.
Doubling Down on Canary Wharf
“We are very delighted with this acquisition which will significantly strengthen FEC’s development presence in Canary Wharf,’ said Hoong.
Located at 17 Admirals Way in the South Quay area, the site currently comprises the Ensign House office building and a car park, which will be demolished to make way for the new development.
Based on the site area of 4,572 square metres (49,213 square feet), FEC has paid the equivalent of £6,179 per square metre for its latest slice of East London.
“It’s too early to say exactly what the development will entail because it still needs to go through planning, but it’s expected to be in keeping with Consort Place and other high-rise developments in the area,” Hoong told Mingtiandi.
Consort Place, which is due for completion in 2023, comprises three towers of 65, 34 and 20 storeys containing 634 apartments, a 231-room Dorsett Hotel, and a retail component.
A footbridge over the South Dock twenty metres from FEC’s latest acquisition links up with the city’s second financial centre, Canary Wharf, while the South Quays docklands light railway is within five minutes’ walk.
Re-Focusing on the UK
FEC is targeting London as home prices in the UK rose 1.9 percent in January compared with the same month in 2018, bringing the average house price to £215,897, according to a housing price index compiled by insurance and financial services company Nationwide.
“Now that there is more certainty surrounding Brexit, investors are refocusing on the UK,” Hoong said, adding that buyer response to last month’s residential sales launch for Consort Place had encouraged the company to acquire the Ensign House site.
Hoong said that the “fundamental demand for housing” in the UK, which is supported by the government, makes the country an attractive market.
Growing UK Footprint
With a head office in London’s posh Mayfair district and a regional office in Manchester, FEC has already committed £600 million to development projects across the UK since entering the country in 2011.
Just yesterday, the Hong Kong developer awarded UK-based contractor Ardmore the £66 million main contract to redevelop the historic Hornsey Town Hall in London’s Crouch End, with demolition works pegged to begin this summer.
FEC is converting the 1935-vintage Crouch End building into 132 apartments, a 67-key boutique hotel, and an arts centre.
In July, the Hong Kong firm acquired a 20 acre (8 hectare) residential plot in central Manchester to bring its expenditures on land in England’s second city to more than £30 million since 2017.
That July acquisition was part of the Northern Gateway regeneration scheme, a joint venture which FEC set up with the Manchester City Council in 2017 which aims to deliver up to 15,000 new homes in northern England’s largest urban hub.